'Harry Potter 8' Review: Epic Finale

After seven books, eight movies, and millions of satisfied fans, the long battle between Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has finally ended. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ is the last installment in the “Harry Potter” film series that has entertained readers and viewers alike for over a decade. Fortunately, this spectacular conclusion exceeds expectations and ends the story on a high note, fulfilling the promise of this magical world.

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The installment begins moments after “Part 1″ ended. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are mourning the loss of Dobby, their beloved friend who died at the conclusion of “Part 1.” The trio know that more bloodshed awaits them as Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), the monster who killed Potter’s parents, has been gaining strength while Potter has worked to find and destroy the Horcruxes that contain his enemy’s soul. In the meantime, Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), Potter’s despised former teacher at Hogwarts, and his allies have taken control of the wizarding school that Potter grew up in.

It’s not surprising that “Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ is far superior to “Part 1″ but it is surprising how high this story towers over its underwhelming predecessor. Both films were adapted from the same book that was reportedly too long to make into one film. While “Part 1″ disappointed, “Part 2″ ranks up there with the best films in this series and could be one of the best films of 2011.

Even in this eighth film about Potter and his quest to vanquish Voldemort, the story’s magic still feels fresh. The film features several awe-inspiring scenes as statues come alive, characters rise up and an elegant battle is waged at Hogwarts. Several times throughout the story I was reminded of the excitement I felt when watching the original so many years ago; that wonder and beauty is displayed elegantly in this last installment. These stories have captured audiences’ attention for good reason. The visuals are magical, the characters are wonderful and the story is well-told.

Even the battle and destruction sequences are masterfully orchestrated. At times, the music accompanying the fight scenes is enough to engage audiences and keep them enthralled. There’s a lot of story to cover here but the film pauses long enough to highlight some of the most important plot developments and the inevitable losses that are a result of Potter’s quest to kill Voldemort.

Steve Kloves, who wrote the screenplay based on the book by J.K Rowling, deserves a lot of credit for this film. The story’s pacing is masterful and never stumbles. It moves quickly from scene to scene while still letting audiences enjoy the characters that they grew up with. The screenplay leaves out any unnecessary plot developments or characters that could have slowed it down.

“Part 2″ is everything that “Part 1″ wasn’t. It never falls into a rut and it doesn’t focus on adolescent angst like its predecessor did. Some may argue that the long book needed to be divided into two films but I contend that with the right amount of editing, both films could have been condensed into one longer film.

Regardless, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ fulfills the promise of this wonderfully-crafted series and shows once again that magic is possible for wizards and Muggles alike.

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